Things are really moving quite fast. It feels almost the opposite of what GAME OF THRONES has traditionally been. While always gripping and exciting, storylines typically have progressed drip by drip, at a snail’s pace. This was partially due to there being so many storylines that only a scene or two was usually devoted to their advancement per episode–if that. But now, in Game of Thrones’ penultimate season, characters continue to collide, chopping down what would have been separate storylines into shared ones, and leaving no room for dilly-dallying.
For instance, in last week’s episode, Jon Snow decided that he would take the risk of going to meet with Daenerys Targaryen at Dragonstone, leaving Sansa in charge of Winterfell in his stead. In past seasons, such a journey would have been carried out over the course of episodes. At our new rapid fire pace, this week’s episode opens on Jon and Ser Davos Seaworth arriving at Dragonstone, as though the two locations were neighbors. However, it’s not a complaint, as this very scene did in fact feel the entire series in the making. It’s an odd thing when so many of the principal characters you’ve known and loved for so long have never even had one single scene together.
Jon is greeted amicably by Tyrion and they reminisce about the last time they saw one another–Tyrion was peeing off the top of The Wall in Season One. They remark on what long, strange journeys they both have been on since then. Climbing the steps of Dragonstone, Jon and Davos are horrified at the sight of Dany’s three dragons, flying circles in the air above the castle. When Jon reaches the throne room, we finally get what we’ve been waiting for, and it plays out probably about as you’d imagine if you know these two characters as well as you should. Dany wants Jon to bend his knee to her as Queen of the Seven Kingdoms. Jon refuses saying there’s no time for that–the Dead are coming.
This results in a sort of stalemate. A battle of the wills. Daenerys knows she needs the North as an ally, and in fact tells Jon that she apologizes for her ancestor’s brutal actions towards the Starks. She also promises that when she is Queen she will make him Warden of the North, as his father Ned was. Jon tells her that he is not beholden to the oaths his forefathers swore. She’s skeptical of Jon’s claims about the army of the dead, but Tyrion knows Jon is not crazy or a liar and sees what he has to do. Though Dany keeps Jon in a sort of “am I or am I not a prisoner here” kind of way for most of the episode, Tyrion eventually convinces her that she loses nothing by allowing Jon to mine the Dragon Glass he needs to fight the army of White Walkers. Jon is quite happy and thankful. It’s a big step towards the ultimate win for our heroes against the real threat: the Night King and his army.
But let’s not forget about the other threats, that are still quite legitimate. Euron Greyjoy returns victorious to King’s Landing with his gift for Cersei: Ellaria Sand, her daughter Tyene the Sand Snake, and Yara Greyjoy. As he marches them in chains through King’s Landing, the people cheer for him as a hero, and Euron revels in it. Bringing them to Cersei in the room of the Iron Throne, she is pleased, and officially makes him commander of her navy; with Jaime commanding the army. She also seems to tentatively agree to marrying Euron, IF the war is won. There is a rivalry brewing between Jaime and Euron for Cersei’s affection and I don’t think it’s going to end well for anyone.
But there is a temporary success for Jaime. Last week Dany outlined her plans to have the Unsullied attack the Lannister’s home of Casterly Rock. However, Jaime brilliantly decides to let his childhood home be taken, as it really only holds sentimental value at this point and no real strategic value in the war. He instead takes his army to a barely defended Highgarden to vanquish the Tyrell’s army–who are not notoriously known for their battle skills. They are easily defeated and Jaime meets with Olenna. He of course is there to kill her, but watching him chop off an old lady’s head might have been a bit much. Instead he kindly pours her a glass of poisoned wine, and tells her he’s made sure that it is not painful. Olenna takes it down like a champ, and then recalls aloud how she would have hated to be poisoned in the way she poisoned Jaime’s son Joffrey. What an awful death that was. In a truly bad ass move, her last request is that Jaime relay to Cersei that it was her–Olenna–who poisoned Joffrey. “I want her to know it was me,” she says. Jaime storms out, devastated. It’s a stand-out death of a stand-out character. She will be missed.
A couple other characters met their end (though not on screen), as the chained up Ellaria Sand is forced to watch Cersei kiss her daughter with poisoned lips–the same way Ellaria offed Cersei and Jaime’s daughter Myrcella at the end of season five. Now Ellaria will be kept alive to watch her daughter not only die of the poison, but rot and turn to dust. Pretty sick, Cersei.
In Oldtown, it seems that Sam has turned into a brilliant surgeon just by skimming over a few books–he has successfully cured Ser Jorah Mormont of his dragonscale, one of only a handful of other success stories when it comes to this disease. In addition to saving Jorah’s life, he has impressed his superior. Jorah leaves Oldtown, presumably to seek out his Khaleesi and tell her he has successfully fulfilled her orders to him. They have a heartfelt goodbye, and say they hope to cross paths again. I doubt they will before the end of this series, though there may be a chance if Sam rejoins Jon, and Dany’s armies are joined with him.
In Winterfell, we are treated to another Stark reunion: Sansa and Bran. Bran shows up and tries to explain to Sansa what the Three-Eyed Raven is and that he actually is the Three-Eyed Raven now, and all that he can do. But it seems to go over Sansa’s head, understandably. I’m confused as to how Bran’s story will play into the rest of the threads this season. But, something to look forward to: Arya is also on her way to Winterfell! Family reunion time! Hopefully we will see this next week.
Season 7, Episode 3 (S07E03)
Game of Thrones airs Sunday at 9PM on HBO
Paul Gulyas | Contributor